Storing energy in hydrogen 20 times more effective using platinum-nickel catalyst

TU/e researcher Emiel Hensen wants to use this new catalyst to develop a refrigerator-size electrolyzer of about 10 megawatts in the future, according to Phys.org.

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EINDHOVEN, Netherlands - Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions, but the widely used metal platinum is scarce and expensive. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), together with Chinese, Singaporean and Japanese researchers, have now developed an alternative with a 20 times higher activity: a catalyst with hollow nanocages of an alloy of nickel and platinum. TU/e researcher Emiel Hensen wants to use this new catalyst to develop a refrigerator-size electrolyzer of about 10 megawatts in the future. The results will be published on November 15th in the journal Science, according to Phys.orgContinue reading original article

The Intelligent Aerospace take:

Date goes here-Storing energy isn't the easiest thing to do. Lithium-ion batteries are a relatively expensive and bulky - and currently, necessary way - to carry electric power in ground- and flying vehicles. One way engineers have gotten around plug-and-drive/fly electric transportation is with hydrogen fuel cells, which generate electricity on board. However, powering with hydrogen requires an expensive catalyst to drive the process. A team from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), together with Chinese, Singaporean and Japanese researchers have successfully tested a catalyst with hollow nanocages of an alloy of nickel and platinum instead of being strictly made of costly platinum. The Ni/Pt catalyst was successfully demonstrated in a hydrogen fuel cell.

"You want to make as much metal surface available as possible. The developed hollow nanocages can be accessed from the outside as well as from the inside," TU/e catalysis professor, Emiel Hensen says. "This creates a large surface area, allowing more material to react at the same time."

While hydrogen fuel cell flight and cars may well be the future, the researchers have bigger dreams for the technology

"I hope that we will soon be able to install an electrolyzer in every neighborhood. This refrigerator-sized device stores all the energy from the solar panels on the roofs in the neighborhood during the daytime as hydrogen," notes Hensen. "The underground gas pipelines will transport hydrogen in future, and the domestic central heating boiler will be replaced by a fuel cell, the latter converting the stored hydrogen back into electricity. That's how we can make the most of the sun."

Related: New catalyst outshines platinum for producing hydrogen

Related: Study shows a much cheaper catalyst can generate hydrogen in a commercial device

Related: Electrolysis breakthrough could solve the hydrogen conundrum

Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor
Intelligent Aerospace

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